Driving Series

10/03/2015

The United States Presidents Cup team is better today than it was only a few days ago. And that’s because J.B. Holmes is suiting up for the red, white and blue in South Korea in place of veteran Jim Furyk.

Furyk joined the staff on the Golf Channel during the Web.com finals and discussed the injury and his reasonings for withdrawing from the 2015 Presidents Cup this week. He fully expects to be ready to play at Kapalua in Hawaii in January. As for this fall, he’s going to be holding himself out.

The Americans are better off for it. 

Aside from throwing out a gimpy Furyk to work to grind-out a mediocre record– although he’s surprisingly good in Presidents Cup vs. Ryder Cup, holding a career record of 20-10-3– they get to add a younger, more powerful player to their roster in J.B. Holmes.

Since his return from brain surgery (which may I note, was miraculous), Holmes has worked his way back into form as one of the elite players in the world.

Standing a stout 5’9″, Holmes has developed a reputation as one of the Tour’s gleaming mega-bombers. Among Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson, Tony Finau and Jason Day, Holmes has routinely found himself among the longest in golf. It’s distance that will give him an advantage in Korea.

J.B. finished the 2015 PGA Tour season with a win, a 14th place finish in the FedEx Cup and top-10 finishes in 28% of his starts. Statistically, he was top-5 in driving distance, top-10 in both eagles made and birdies made, top-20 in strokes gained tee to green and currently holds the longest streak on Tour without a three-putt.

I would argue his game is stronger right now than Furyk’s.

Now, his resume still misses big-time championships. He has zero top-10s in majors and has never won a WGC. He only has 4 PGA Tour wins in the past 10 seasons on Tour and has never played a Presidents Cup, but his talent is hard to deny.

In some irony, Holmes and Furyk both played on the 2008 Ryder Cup team in Holmes’ home state of Kentucky. It was Holmes’ win over Soren Hanson that pulled the Americans within a sole point of claiming the Cup– their only win in the 2000s. Furyk secured the clinching point only one hole later.

When looking at Presidents Cup snubs though, despite Holmes’ season, some would argue the spot may have deserved to go to Brooks Koepka. Koepka’s play through the back-half of the summer, combined with successes in the majors has him as one of the young blood Americans to keep an eye on.

The selection of Holmes forces Koepka to wait another year.

But this isn’t a discussion of Holmes vs. Koepka (or Finau or Thomas or whoever). This is about Holmes making the American team better than a shaky, veteran Furyk. I’d be excited to see some fresh American blood get their feet wet in team play (or in Holmes’ case, re-introduce).

And at 12 years Furyk’s junior, Holmes gives the Americans even more hope to close out the Internationals.

Driving Series